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Sixers At Spurs open thread 01/03/09

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Phi_medium

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Sas_medium

13-19 21-11
Enemy: Pounding the Rock
Prediction: 97-84 Spurs
8:30 PM est
TV: NBA TV
Previous meetings: none
Probable starters:
Andre Miller PG Tony Parker
Willie Green SG Roger Mason
Andre Iguodala SF Michael Finely
Thaddeus Young PF Tim Duncan
Sam Dalembert C Matthew Bonner

It's not quite ESPN or TNT, but tonight the Sixers will be ballin' on NBA TV. They play their second consecutive game against a Texas Powerhouse and I expect things to be similar to they were last night. The Sixers might hang around for a while, look like they might possibly steal a game, but allow the better team to prevail in the end. That's why they play the games though. Less than a year ago, the streaking Sixers, in the midst of their playoff run, squeezed out a win against this same Spurs team and did it in impressive fashion. It was an awesome win, ranking number eight on my top 10 games of 2006-2007. Here's the quick recap:

8. San Antonio Spurs vs. Philadelphia 76ers (March 15, 2008)

[Ed.]

This game was during a month where the Sixers went 11-4. Of those 11 wins, five were against legit playoff teams, including Boston, Detroit, Phoenix and San Antonio. This game might have been higher on the list, but at the time it just seemed like another day at the office. The win brought the Sixers to within one game of .500 and made their playoff chances seem very realistic. My thoughts during this game were, "Are we really going to beat the Spurs in a grind it out game in March, when the Spurs are in their playoff gear?", "Can Sammy really shut down Tim Duncan at the end of the game?" and "Does this mean Philly really has a shot at the playoffs?" The answer to all those questions was yes. The Sixers held a small lead throughout the game, until the fourth when the Spurs made their push. Andre Miller had an absolutely ridiculous game, finishing with 32 points (11-14 shooting) , 7 assists, 5 rebounds and ZERO turnovers. They tried defending him with everyone. Mike Finely couldn't stop him, Tony Parker couldn't stop him, Manu Ginobli couldn't stop him, Jacque Vaughn couldn't stop him and even the oh so wonderful Bruce Bowen couldn't stop him. Everybody on the Sixers played near perfect basketball, only turning the ball over a whopping four times. FOUR TIMES! Besides Miller, if I had to single one player out, it would be Samuel Dalembert. Dalembert owned Tim Duncan defensively in crunch time. Cheeks allowed him play one-on-one for the most part and Sammy made it pay off, either blocking or bothering all of Duncan's shots in the last few minutes. This was one of the most balanced, team effort victories of the season and it came against the defending champs.

That game was magical to watch. I find it hard to believe that history would repeat itself though. The Sixers were playing out of their minds. Not so much nowadays. This year I can't imagine the Sixers only committing four turnovers in a half, let alone an entire game. And I don't see Sammy D shutting down Tim Duncan again any time soon.

A loss tonight and the Sixers would finish with a 1-5 record on their brutal six-game road trip. That's not all that bad, considering the fact that losing all six was very plausible. After this game, the Sixers have another tough one against the Rockets at home, then they have two "easy" ones against Milwaukee and Charlotte, who by the way, NBA League Pass aired a game between those two instead of the Sixers/Mavericks. I know the Sixers have been bad lately, but the Bucks and Bobcats?! Then after their "easy" games they have yet another tough stretch of games, playing the Hawks, Blazers, Spurs, Dallas, New Orleans, Houston and Boston in 7 of their next 11. None of us is really sure when Elton is coming back, but he better hurry, because with that schedule the Sixers could have a pretty horrible record when he returns. Then again, playoffs are always a possibility in the East.

To tonight's game.

Will Marreese Speights log 0 minutes again? I hope not.

Will Lou-Will and Thad continue to grow? Yes.

Can Iggy follow up his solid game against Bruce Bowen? Ummm.

Will the Sixers lose as expected, or pull off the upset? That's why I'll be watching the game.

8:30 eastern time. Be here.